Country Risk

Part-passage of Malawian Referendum Bill indicates 2019 elections likely to go ahead; opposition coalition formation likely

15 December 2017


Malawi’s parliament on 13 December passed the Referendum Bill, which is one of six pieces of electoral reform legislation being introduced by President Peter Mutharika’s administration to move the country from the current first-past-the-post system to a majoritarian 50-percent-plus-one system for presidential elections.

In addition, the parliament referred the Electoral Commission Act (Amendment) Bill to a parliamentary committee for additional scrutiny. The change was adopted on the recommendation of the government-appointed Malawi Law Commission, which was charged with reviewing the country’s electoral laws. The commission proposed the enactment of six pieces of legislation, the bills of which are collectively entitled the Electoral Reforms Bills: the Constitution (Amendment) Act, the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Act, Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act, the Local Government Elections Act, the Assumption of the Office of President (Transitional Arrangement) Act, and the Referendum Act.

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